What Does Victim Behavior Look Like?
Adapted from David Fitzgerald: Bullying in our Schools
- Unhappiness in school and reluctance to get up in the mornings
- Feeling apprehensive leaving school while taking unusual routes home
- Complaining about feeling sick in the mornings without visible physical signs
- Deteriorating work accompanied by a lessening of interest in school/work
- Becoming upset or emotional for the smallest reason
- Cuts or bruises on the body where the explanations are not really credible
- Rushes to bathroom when gets home and reluctant to go out and play
- Being unusually negative about issues
- Making comments and statements that downgrade oneself
- Has stomachaches, headaches, panic attacks, or unexplained injuries
- Has poor social-emotional skills with few or no friends
- Cannot account for missing school books, clothing, toys
- Develops a sudden interest in self-defense activities and to join a club
- Becomes uneasy and unnecessarily upset when peers at school are mentioned
- Does not appear like usual self and feels powerless
- Is sad, sullen, angry or scared after phone call or emailing
- Has a low self-concept and appears unhappy
Here are some tips for dealing with a potential bullying situation:
Tips for Parents: What to Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied
If your child is being bullied at school, this can be a very painful experience for your child and your
family. Here are some things you can do to support your child if he or she is being bullied:
- Never tell your child to ignore the bullying.
- Don’t blame your child for the bullying. Don’t assume your child did something to
provoke the bullying.
- Allow your child to talk about his or her bullying experiences. Write down what is shared.
- Empathize with your child. Tell him or her that bullying is wrong, that it is not his or her fault,
and that you are glad he or she had the courage to tell you about it.
- If you disagree with how your child handled the bullying situation, don’t criticize him or her.
It is often very difficult for children to know how best to respond.
- Do not encourage physical retaliation.
- Check your emotions. A parent’s protective instincts stir strong emotions. Although it is
difficult, step back and consider the next steps carefully.
- Contact a teacher, school counselor, or principal at your school immediately and share your
concerns about the bullying that your child has experienced.
- Work closely with school personnel to help solve the problem.
- Encourage your child to develop interests and hobbies that will help build resiliency in difficult
situations like bullying.
- Encourage your child to make contact with friendly students in his or her class, or help your
child meet new friends outside of school.
- Teach your child safety strategies, such as how to seek help from an adult.
- Make sure your child has a safe and loving home environment.
- If you or your child need additional help, seek help from a school counselor and/or
mental health professional.
Tips for Parents: What to Do If Your Child Witnesses Bullying
Many children are observers or “bystanders” in cases of bullying at school. It is important that even
students who are bystanders in a bullying situation take action to get help, so the bullying stops. If
your child talks to you about the bullying that he or she witnesses at school, you are encouraged to
do the following:
- Teach your child how to get help without getting hurt.
- Encourage your child to verbally intervene if it is safe to do so, by saying such things as:
“Cool it! This isn’t going to solve anything.”
- Tell your child not to cheer on or even quietly watch bullying. This only encourages a child
who bullies—who wants to be the center of attention.
- Encourage your child to tell a trusted adult about the bullying. Talking to an adult is not
“tattling”—it is an act of courage and safety. Suggest going to an adult with a friend, if that
will make it easier.
- Help your child support others who tend to be bullied.
- Teach your child to include these children in activities.
- Praise and reward “quiet acts of courage”—where your child tried to do the right thing to stop
bullying, even if he or she was not successful.
- Work with your child to practice specific ways he or she can help stop bullying.
For example, role-play with him or her what he or she could say or do to help someone who
is being bullied.
Tips for Parents: What to Do If Your Child Bullies Others
If your child bullies other children at school, it will need to be stopped. Here are some things you can
do at home to address the issue with your child:
- Make it clear to your child that you take bullying seriously and that it is not okay.
- Make rules within your family for your child’s behavior. Praise your child for following the
rules and use nonphysical and logical consequences when rules are broken. A logical
consequence for bullying could be losing rights to use the phone to call friends, using email
to talk with friends, or other activities your child enjoys.
- Spend lots of time with your child and keep close track of his or her activities. Find out who
your child’s friends are and how and where they spend their free time.
- Build on your child’s talents by encouraging him or her to get involved in positive activities
(such as clubs, music lessons, or nonviolent sports).
- Share your concerns with your child’s teacher, counselor, and/or principal. Work together to
send a clear message to your child that his or her bullying must stop.
- If you and your child need more help, talk with a school counselor and/or mental health
The following is an activity that several classes here at Case Middle School have tried in their weekly Olweus meeting. Students begin by watching the embedded video seen below. This is a clip from a TedX Talk presented by Barbara Coloroso. Her complete talk can be found on youtube.com, this is just a brief clip of it.
Following this, students created their own bully circle. During the class discussion about how bullying relates to the Holocaust, students added additional labels to their circles. Examples of these circles can be viewed in the attached PDF.